I think gsimmons has covered many of the problems of the defense in the comments section, so I'm just going to write about a few things I saw out of the offense.
- I saw more man blocking on the O-line this game that what I noticed the last few weeks. The counters with Moundrous coming across the line of scrimmage produced a couple big gains. The line looked much better in the man scheme than the zone. They were getting a decent push and getting to the second level. The timing on the zone scheme just doesn't look quite right yet. We may see more man blocking as the year progresses if the zone scheme continues to struggle.
- Although they struggled more in the zone scheme, it was not always to the play side. There were a few plays where I thought Threet should have kept the ball. The DE had his shoulders completely turned, and Threet still handed the ball off. The DE was then able to run down the play from the back side for minimal gain. The corners were also pretty agressive on the running plays. I thought the zone read where Threet has the wideout as a third option may have worked well in the game.
- One of the ways Illinois was defending the zone read was to immediately bring the backside linebacker to tackle the QB. So you have an unblocked DE to take the RB, and an unblocked linebacker to take the QB. In this case, the QB should immediately throw the bubble screen. Against Illinois, Michigan already had an advantage by alignment with a safety 10 - 15 yards off the ball. With a linebacker going after the QB, there is no inside out flow to the play. If its a good throw, its probably a 6-7 yard gain every time.
- I thought we would see more bubble screens, but its probably better we did not. The blocking by our wide recievers was probably the worst I've seen all year. The basic idea behind stalk blocking as a wideout is to sell vertical until the DB stops his back pedal. If if he starts to come up under control, you stay in front of him, hit him, get your hands on the breast plate of his shoulder pads, keep your feet moving and drive him back. If he comes up hard, cut him and keep him on the ground. The wideouts looked very tentative in their blocks, and you have to be aggressive but under control when blocking as a wideout. If Matthews gets a block on the play that Minor fumbled, it probably goes for a big gain.
- The play in the first half where Threet threw it to the middle of the field was probably a mistake by Odoms. Miller was running with him down the middle on his release, and thats a good mismatch for us. Threet thought he was going to keep running, but he broke off over the middle. Either he just ran the wrong play, or he thought Miller was going to stay over top of him. Either way, I think Odoms was wrong on that play.
- I think we will see more shake up on the left side of the line. Ortmann is a step slow at guard, and I thought Dorrestein was consistently standing up off the snap instead of driving out of his stance low. He was blown backwards several times as a result. This is a fundamental thing that should be fixed this week in practice.
Overall, the offense did some good things, but they also did a lot of bad things. If we hit on the long passes to Savoy and Odoms at the end of the first half, maybe that changes the game. I don't want to beat a dead horse with things that have already been discussed, but I thought I'd point out a few things that I haven't seen in the comments section.